Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bowl barrow on the summit of Cop Heap

A Scheduled Monument in Warminster, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.2093 / 51°12'33"N

Longitude: -2.1734 / 2°10'24"W

OS Eastings: 387981.328276

OS Northings: 145583.976555

OS Grid: ST879455

Mapcode National: GBR 1V6.3BJ

Mapcode Global: VH97H.8VVS

Entry Name: Bowl barrow on the summit of Cop Heap

Scheduled Date: 24 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019384

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33528

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Warminster

Built-Up Area: Warminster

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Warminster St Denys

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a bowl barrow on the summit of Cop Heap, a spur of Lower
Chalk projecting from the south western edge of Salisbury Plain, to the north
east of Warminster. There is flat ground to the east and steep slopes on the
other three sides.
At the eastern end the mound of the barrow is 2.9m high. From north to south,
the mound is 27m wide while from east to west it measures 29m. The mound has a
flat top measuring 9.4m from north to south and 7.2m from east to west. The
barrow was partially excavated by the antiquarians Sir Richard Colt-Hoare
and William Cunnington in the early 19th century. They found a primary female
inhumation with a child accompanied by shell and bone beads, and two secondary
inhumations. At this time the barrow mound was surrounded by a ditch and outer
bank. The ditch has become infilled over the years and the bank is no longer
visible but both features will survive to the east as buried remains.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most
examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as
earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple
burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often
acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar,
although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form
and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are
a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

The bowl barrow on the summit of Cop Heap survives well in an impressive
location. Partial excavation in the 19th century has demonstrated that the
barrow will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence which
relates to the people who built the barrow, its use and the landscape in which
they lived.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Colt Hoare, R, The Ancient History of Wiltshire: Volume I, (1812), 68

Source: Historic England

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